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Loud Boom Over a Several State Area
Followed by Deluge of UFO Reports

Recently (March, 2011) an article appeared in the MUFON Journal written by Irena Scott. Irena previously served on the MUFON board of directors and is a consultant to MUFON in physiology and astronomy.  She writes that on October 11, 1973 a very loud "sonic type boom" was heard across a several state area from Ohio and progressed eastward to the East Coast. The sound was first reported at 8:41 PM in Ohio and later at 8:53 PM in Pennsylvania.  Irena researched this incident extensively at the time and contacts with NASA and the Air Force ruled out a squadron of jets or a meteor.  Ironically after the boom an unusually high number of UFO reports occurred. For example on October 17, 1973 Franklin County, Ohio law enforcement officials received a record 150 UFO reports and officials in Wheeling, West Virginia received 100 reports.
Upon reading this article in the MUFON Journal I recalled the 1973 was a wave year for UFO sightings with many landings and close encounters noted.  I recalled that the Calvin Parker - Charles Hickson abduction occurred in 1973. This is one of most notable abductions ever recorded in the UFO literature.  I looked up the date and was astounded to find that the encounter occurred on October 11, 1973!  This was the same day as the "big boom" occurred across the midwest and eastern U.S.  As a matter of fact the time even lines up.  The Hickson - Parker encounter occurred around 9 PM Central Time.  The loud boom occurred between 8:41 PM and 8:53 PM Eastern Time (7:41 PM and 7:53 PM Central Time).  Is this a coincidence?  Did something enter our atmosphere that resulted in the Hickson - Parker encounter and a wave of other UFO sightings?  It has me thinking.
To jog your memory Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson were fishing on the Pascagoula River in Mississippi.  They suddenly heard a buzzing sound behind them. Both men turned around to see the source of the sound, and were amazed to see a glowing, egg-shaped object with bluish lighting on its front side.  The unusual craft was hovering just a few feet above the ground, and about 30 feet from the shore of the river. To their unbelief, a door opened in the object, and three strange beings began to float just above the water straight toward them. Though the beings had legs, they did not use them, they simply floated across the river. Parker and Hickson would later describe the beings as "about five feet tall, had bullet-shaped heads without necks, slits for mouths, and where their noses or ears would be, they had thin, conical objects sticking out, like carrots from a snowman's head. They had no eyes, grey, wrinkled skin, round feet, and claw-like hands."   

Click here to read MUFON Journal Article (PDF)

Comments Received March 26, 2011:


Recently, I came across an opinion piece published in the MUFON Journal entitled: "Scientists should look closely at the Big Bang" by Irena Scott.  In the article, Dr. Scott attempts to make a connection between a loud and far ranging 'boom' reported in many midwestern and northeastern states on the evening of October 11, 1973, and a rash of UFO reports immediately thereafter.

Having grown up in Binghamton, NY I distinctly remember this incident.  I was 11 years old at the time (11-OCT-1973) and was in the process of getting ready for bed when, suddenly (at around 9:00 PM), the whole house shook and the windows rattled.  My dad thought my two older brothers were 'wrestling' on the floor of the upstairs bedroom and proceeded to give them hell.  But, for once, they were innocent.  The local paper carried several articles on the boom the next day; and we talked about it at school.  That night has haunted me for years.  It wasn't until just three years ago that I finally found, without a doubt in my mind, the source of the mystery boom of 1973.

The research I conducted over the years included gathering newspaper articles from many states, regarding the event.  From the information in the articles, I was able to create a map of a "ground track" of whatever it was that generated the boom.  Paying particular attention the specific local times cited in the various articles, it became quite apparent that the source was traveling west-to-east at a sustained speed of approximately Mach 2.5; too slow for a meteor or space junk, and too fast for conventional aircraft of the time.  The only aircraft that could maintain a speed of Mach 2.5 over the distance from IL to NY is, of course, the SR-71.  So, I began looking into specific movements of the SR-71 across the US in the 1970's, and found this SR-71 timeline for 1973:

  • 23 Jan 1973
      9 SRW receives USAF Outstanding Unit Award for 1 Jul 1971-30 Jun 1972 (9RW)
  • 10 May 1973
      Col. P. J. Halloran 9 SRW Commander thru 29 Jan 1975 (9RW)
  • 20 Sep 1973
      President Nixon awards Thomas Estes/ Dewain Vick the Harmon International Aviator Award for their record flight on 26 April 1971
  • 11 Oct 1973
      SR-71A #979 Flown to Griffis AFB, NY for "Giant Reach" ops,USAF Pilot/ RSO: James Shelton/ Gary Coleman (BB)
  • 12 Oct 1973
      Middle east overflights from CONUS during Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War from Griffis AFB, NY and Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC; 9 sorties were flown: Operation Giant Reach (BB)
  • 13 Oct 1973
      SR-71A #979, Flown in "Giant Reach" ops; USAF Pilot/RSO: James Shelton/ Gary Coleman (BB)
  • 25 Oct 1973
      SR-71A #979, Flown in "Giant Reach" ops; USAF Pilot/RSO: Al Joersz/ John Fuller (BB)
  • 2 Nov 1973
      SR-71A #979, Flown in "Giant Reach" ops; USAF Pilot/RSO: Bob Helt/ Larry Elliott; (left Griffis AFB, and returned to Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC) (BB)
  • 11 Nov 1973
      SR-71A #964, Flown in "Giant Reach" ops; USAF Pilot/RSO: Jim Wilson/ Bruce Douglas (BB)
  • 15 Nov 1973
      "Giant Reach" ops moved to Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC (OL-SB) (BB)
  • 2 Dec 1973
      SR-71A #964, Flown in "Giant Reach" ops;USAF Pilot/RSO: Jim Sullivan/ Noel Widdifield (BB)
  • 10 Dec 1973
      SR-71A #979, Flown in "Giant Reach" ops; USAF Pilot/RSO: Pat Bledsoe/ Reg Blackwell (BB)

It clearly shows that an SR-71A (Tail #979) was flown into Griffiss AFB on 11-OCT-1973 in preparations for over-flights of Israel at the onset of the Yom Kippur War.  Griffiss AFB was about 80+ miles north (in Rome, NY) of Binghamton, NY, and was, at that time, a SAC B-52 bomber base.  I knew I was onto something; after all these years.  After more searching, I came across a book that chronicles the events of that night from the perspective of the PILOT who was flying the SR-71A (Tail #979) on the night of 11-OCT-1973 (Pages 86-89): page&q&f=false

And, as a final touch, I was able to find the final resting place of Tail #979; here:,-98.620517&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=%2B29%C2%B0+23%27+22.59%22,+-98%C2%B0+37%27+12.75%22&gl=us&t=h&z=14

On static display at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX.  Please tell Dr. Scott I do share her curiosity regarding UFOs but, sadly, I'm afraid we can close the case on the Big Mystery Boom of 1973.  Like the saying goes; somewhere, someone knows the truth.  In this case, the USAF knew all along what caused all the fuss that cool October night in 1973; it just took me almost 35 years to catch up.

Map Sent by Commenter Showing Reports of Sonic Boom on October 11, 1973.
Map Sent by Commenter Showing Reports of Sonic Boom on October 11, 1973.

Other References:

UFO Contact at Pascagoula, May, 1983 by Charles Hickson & William Mendez